3 Areas of Self-Control
Body – In eating, drinking, sleeping, exercise, speaking, action, indulgence of the senses, and sexual purity. (Prov.23:21; Luke 21:34; 1Thess.4:3,4,5; James 1:26; 3:1-12)
Some rules: Don’t overeat, don’t oversleep, don’t overspeak, don’t overreact, observe cleanliness, eat properly, dress properly, etc..
Soul – In thought, imaginations, feelings, emotions, and turning of the mind towards things or ideas. Some rules: Don’t allow vain thoughts, don’t nurse evil feelings, don’t set mind on flesh, don’t worry, don’t vent all your feelings but control them, meditate on God’s word, cultivate pure thoughts, worship and pray with mind and emotions (Phil.4:8; Prov.29:11; 1Cor.14:15)
Spirit – In passion of spirit, maintenance of a healthy conscience, and in committing to seek the Lord always and not damp the spirit in things of the flesh. Some rules: Don’t be disheartened, don’t be timid, don’t be discouraged, be slow to anger, pray in the spirit. (Prov.16:32; 2Tim.1:7; Jude 1:20)
1. Walls (Prov.25:28). Self-control is like the walls of a city. Healthy walls are pictures of a spirit under control.
2. Capturing City (Prov.16:32). A man with self-control is better than the one who captures a city. It emphasizes the need of wisdom and power in order to keep self under control.
3. Self-control involves discipline of the mind. It means to never allow imaginations and thoughts to break the boundaries established by God (Gen.6:5), but bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2Cor.10:4,5). It means to gird up the loins of the mind (1Pet.1:13), that is to fasten the belt on our mind to keep it steady and strong. It means to think and meditate on the virtuous and avoid all appearance of evil (Phil.4:8; 1Thess.5:21;Tit.2:12; Gen.39:10,11,12; 1Sam.30:22-24).
4. Self-control involves discipline of the body (1Cor.9:27). A lazy and carefree person who eats as he likes, sleeps as he likes, talks as he likes, and doesn’t pay attention to the rigors of a disciplined lifestyle will never understand what self-control is all about. But, discipline must not be observed grudgingly, as if it is a burden. Discipline must be embraced with purpose, determination, and the faith that self-control protects the heart, mind, emotions, and the spirit against destroying elements and helps one focus on the mission and task of God (1Thess.4:4,5,7).
5. Self-control means to rule the spirit (Prov.16:32; 25:28). It means to not lose our bearing, to not swagger, to not slip, and to not fall. It means to keep the spirit meek and humble (Dan.5:20; Matt.5:3; Prov.16:19). It means to have a broken spirit before God always (Psa.51:17; Matt.26:39; Heb.5:8; James 4:10). Note that it should not be brokenness in itself, but brokenness before God (Prov.17:22). Ruling the spirit means to control our anger from explosion (Prov.16:32; Psa.4:4; Eph.4:26; Eccl.7:9). Ruling the spirit means to become strong in the spirit (Luke 1:80; 2:40). Ruling the spirit means to commit the spirit to God (Psa.31:5). It means to not be lax and slack in the spirit (Psa.32:2). It means to have a steadfast and stable spirit (not one swayed by circumstances) (Psa.51:10). It means to be patient in the spirit and not proud in the spirit (Eccl.7:8). It means to have the spirit in its right place, i.e. to seek God diligently (Psa.77:6; Prov.22:27; Isa.26:9; John 4:23).